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Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.

"Chance – Louis Pasteur

favors

the

prepared

mind."

You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.

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So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.

How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.

Strengths
• • • • • • •

What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?

Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".

Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.

3 Weaknesses
• • • •

What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.

Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Opportunities
• • • • • • •

What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?

You might find useful opportunities in the following:
• • • •

Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?

Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.

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Threats
• • • • •

What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?

Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.

A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.

Strengths
• • • •

I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.

Weaknesses

• • •

I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.

Opportunities
• • •

One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.

Threats

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• • •

Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.

As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.

Key Points
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction

Discover Yourself and Your Purpose

How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.

This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. is a journey. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. Once unmasked. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. growth. defenses.firstly asking you to explore your talents. development. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. Exploring Your Talents First of all.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. What Do I Want to Do? 3. and stresses of everyday life. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. and reinvention. and using. Who Am I? 2. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . In fact. And it moves on with a focused job or career move. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . that is finding career direction. How Do I Get Hired? 1.

Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. Tip: If you're having problems choosing. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. DISC (Dominance.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order. and as you identify possible careers. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. That said. Rank these in order. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. however considering the importance of what you're doing. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. Influence. Personality Inventories Next. One trick is to turn things around. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". While no personality type is good or bad. and avoid the things that . Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only .

You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. many different people could perform well in these situations. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. Tip: When you're doing this. . the next stage is to think about what you want to do. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. In psychological terms. Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. your beliefs. and your way of seeing the world.after all.8 frustrate and demotivate you. 2. The activities you get most satisfaction from. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . The talents you achieve most with. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. You choose to react one way over another. or to prefer one thing to another. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. and this gives you little information. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. After all. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. and you'll probably underachieve. and where others didn't. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are.

extend out and brainstorm the other options available.. a radical career change may be the best thing.9 i. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. they can't recommend new careers. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters.com iii.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up.com http://www. . nor do they know about less well-known careers. who may be much younger than you. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. Useful ones are: Free.. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way.self-directed-search. Because of this. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. and can only cope with the major career types. Once you've done this.assessment. industry and profession. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. ii. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding. Using the test results as a starting point. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. On the other hand.

Participating in job fairs. and what the issues and problems within it are. job pay levels. Career research is not something many people relish. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. • • • • • • • • • . Pulling This Together. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. if you're having trouble prioritizing. and perhaps to move. Attending professional and trade shows. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. We're not asking you to choose one now. this is quite tedious. who the major players in it are. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. so that you can understand industry trends. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. job availability. v. Volunteering. Yes. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Understanding where organizations are based.org. Visiting company websites. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. Also. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is.10 iv. etc. qualifications needed. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them.

You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. now you need to actually map your progress. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. 3. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. in order to get there. a job that sounds really glamorous.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want. the better the job . Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. faster. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. or a whole host of other distractions.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. • These are your short term goals. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. you may have rejected several possible careers. an opening that Uncle Vinny has. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here.

You are suffering from stress or depression. You know when you are in a job you like. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them. or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. if you’re a science person. You are no longer having fun. For example. the career that you are meant for will materialize. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. Likewise. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. Learning is replaced with routine. artistic people would be . The effort however. whatever the industry or the job title. You are feeling unappreciated. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality.12 that you'll be able to choose. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results.

Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. but often lack leadership skills. those that need interaction with other people. and machines. Avoid activities that seem mundane. and status. 2. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. or which demands a lot of number crunching. intellectual. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. . Common traits: • Hard-headed. power. materialistic. or enjoy working with objects. Value scientific endeavors. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1. and genuine. tools. but may not be good with people. commercial or "enterprising". Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. precise. pessimistic. Avoid "social" activities. In a perfect world. and reserved. Common traits: • Analytical. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. practical. curious.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. Value concrete and tangible things like . However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities.money. persistent. inflexible. Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented.

training. but may lack scientific ability. optimistic. and exhibitionistic. emphatic. and enjoy using materials to create art. popular. 4. Common traits: • Idealistic. reproducing materials. patient. Value aesthetics. impractical and nonconformist. complicated . filing. sensitive. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. 5. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. understanding and able to teach others. developing.14 3. record keeping. introspective. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. sociable. Value political and economic achievement. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. and cooperative. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain. and organizing written or numerical data. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. Conventional (C): 6. tactful. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. Common traits: • Extroverted. Conventional people . persuasive. curing and enlightening others. Common traits: • Generous. adventurous. great leaders and speakers. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. Value social activities. ambitious.

. below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. data. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. and methodical. and ideas. practical. For example. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. Value business and economic achievement. This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. things. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. Common traits: • Efficient. This gives their Holland's code (for example. ESA). inflexible. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. defensive. conscientious. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities.

You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. one costs US$9. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites.16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. and so on. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. just complete steps i and ii below. "How would my spouse. One strategy to deal with this is to . There are many of these. family. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. not who we really are. use our complete process. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. However. To find your ideal career according to this approach.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. ask yourself. Here again. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. To shape your job. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality. These are more Artistic responsibilities. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. For instance. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. (If so. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. entertainment.

) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. and set realistic goals to change things. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. and do well. and set the goals that will lead you there. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. and the focus of the job has changed subtly. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. In particular. look at our Life Plan Workbook. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. time limited goal. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment. If you're thinking about your career. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. . you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. Likewise. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done.

however. and you can start whenever you want. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. Check on progress. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. Her successor.) . Stephen. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. Rebecca. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. 4. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. though. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work. has a particular flair for graphic design. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. 3. Practically any job can be crafted. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well.18 The previous post-holder. follow these steps: 1. Act to put positive change in place. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. adjust and continue. Overall. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. 2. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". or using your knowledge to change working methods. In short. Decide what you want to change. at least to some extent. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. By subtly redesigning your job like this. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. using skills that you already have. did a great job. you can play to your strengths. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. So. they've both been really good performers. improving both satisfaction and performance. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. so that you can generate better results. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker.

but the overall impact may well be negative. or more interaction with people from other departments. go back to Step 1. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. If this isn't the case. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . In our example. For example. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. and the organization as a whole.19 • Relationships: Here. You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. or a boost to your own self-esteem. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. your colleagues. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. For example. For more on this. more effective workforce. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. Here. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. your supervisor or manager. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. you should take into account your clients. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. For example. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel".

lead to career enhancement opportunities. as mentioned in Step 2. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. 2 and 3 above. and you feel good about what's happening. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. In job crafting. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. within your recrafted job. and you decide to make the necessary changes. nothing will come of it. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. check that it gives you what you want. After all. When you have a number of other people to supervise. . you can let your changes become a habit. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. And of course. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. in itself. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. managerial input or approval before you start. or expect. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. But don't wait for.20 Also. if you have any managerial responsibilities. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. By refocusing your job in this way. If everything checks out.

Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. you make sure they become a habit. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. and so find out what might also work for you. you look for a win-win solution. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. increasing enjoyment. you put the changes into practice. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. in order to change aspects of your current job. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. will your job even exist in its present form in five years.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. you may uncover some interesting ideas. having checked they're having a positive effect. so that it suits you better. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. and then.

or in addition to. however. Leadership.) When you work for this kind of company. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. If you're in a highly technical field of work. It can pay off for some. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. Get and remain tech-savvy. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. To maximize your chances of success. Along with technical skills. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. Toyota and Mars. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. A broad range of competencies. specialization is no longer the route of choice. do it. what you are doing now. If you're early in your career. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. And yes. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. your kit may need to adapt as well. Develop your competencies. as your own circumstances change. it is critically important to continue your professional development. innovation. And remember. . so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. Monitor and track your progress. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. This forms a great foundation for a successful career. Your specific technical skills may get out of date. communication. Develop cross-functional skills. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. skills and experience. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. Otherwise.

and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain." In many industries. Your co-workers. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. your profession and the industry you are in. Note your volunteer work. You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes. No one can accurately predict the future. List the training you've completed. Build and maintain a professional network. Learning another language. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. Employers want to know what you will do for them. When you have a ready list of things you have done. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. The more experience you get. projects and results. Create and maintain a success journal. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures. • • • • Collect business cards. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. Join professional networking associations. • • • • • Track your duties.23 "Think global. When you add a mentor or two to your network. Scan the environment. however stay ahead of the crowd . it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills.

• • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. Keep a clear career path open. Develop realistic and achievable goals. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. this will not be the case. even if it means a job. and choosing to work in industries . To learn more about resiliency. boredom and. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term. Back your hunches and analysis with action. Develop resilience. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . however. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning. and development may be blocked. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. you will eventually have to leave.if you're good at what you do.or career-change. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you. Because the future is uncertain. However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. With some forethought and planning. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. This will lead to frustration. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. in the long term. Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path.that have long-term sustainability. failure to achieve your potential. you can take control of your future career . listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. however hard you work. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this.24 by keeping yourself informed.and for employers . you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. For many. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. It is better to prepare now.

The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work. Sure. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months. What can you do? Well. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. for many people. you can show initiative. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere.25 today. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. you've got some useful skills. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change. So. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . In this article. But you currently have no management experience. You've always wanted to work in management. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications.even if they are not directly related to your current job. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. This is something you feel passionate about. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications.

can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. if you really want to make a career change. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. You're a good writer. and to build up your portfolio. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. However. The important thing is to see your name in print. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. then applying for a related position. or reimburse you for outside classes. budgeting. depending on the new company or position. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. . Many nonprofits . you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. you won't get paid for it). The company might offer training seminars. project management. Well. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. fundraising. And. Eventually. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. and the good impression you'll make. These skills are highly valued in the business world. and more. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. You can write a few articles in your spare time. then consider volunteering for community organizations. Although you may not see immediate results. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. As well as learning new skills. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. marketing.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. When it's time to apply for that management position. writing. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. in the long term. chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. as a volunteer.

personnel development. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here .27 However. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). you attend class at the time and place of your choice . however. you can often complete a qualification in less time . This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. With distance learning. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. Instead of a traditional management class. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. or on weekends. often use lectures from several different experts . for example). Executive-level workshops can be expensive. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. you may have to use your vacation time.on your lunch hour. Asking Questions and Telling Stories.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment.and at a much lower cost . workshops might offer several different lectures. Executive-level workshops.than a traditional school. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. Skills like project management. each exploring a different area of relationship building. The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. in the evenings. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. And. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams. a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. . so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. business management. and so on. For example. marketing. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. accounting and finance. For example. if you want to become a medical doctor.

Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. If that's not practical. to choose one's way. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. This will strengthen your qualifications. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job. Apply This to Your Life 1.. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. 2. If you're still not sure. – Viktor Frankl.. 4. 3. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. Consider where your next career move will be. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. Where possible. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. If you can gain those new skills within your organization.

how can you become better at handling your emotions. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project.. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. After all. most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. if management is forced into making more layoffs. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. excitement. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. So. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped.. Dislike. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. but it's even more important for you to do so. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. As the above quote shows. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. staff layoffs. as well as your productivity. But at work. Disappointment/unhappiness. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. and department changes. and work well under pressure. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. You know. a boss who is too . your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. feelings of joy. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. no matter what the situation is. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. Anger/aggravation.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. Worry/nervousness. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. After all. In your personal life. compassion. you're always free to choose how you react to it. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. or unable to move forward in some way.

But this worry can easily get out of control. then you have more time to prepare. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. For more on this. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. For instance. but also your productivity. and nothing else. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. and be specific. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. Focus on your breathing. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. Instead. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. just move on. and your willingness to take risks at work. if you allow it. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. and look at the situation. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. Or. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Do this at least five times.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. you could use this time to relax a little. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. and this can impact not only your mental health. Write it down. if your boss is late for your meeting. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. such as anger. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. and that isn't good for anyone. that probably won't help you keep your job. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. • • . if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. Whatever the reason. and you sit there and worry.

you can choose how you react in a situation. Remember. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. it can dent your self-confidence. If you start to get angry. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. When you're worried and nervous about something. no matter what. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. But it's important to be professional. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . write them down in a notebook or 'worry log.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. so learn to recognize them when they begin. knowing that you'll deal with them. you can forget about these worries. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also. imagine how you would look. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. Before that time. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. Stopping your anger early is key. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace. For instance. it gives you some perspective on the situation. This interrupts your angry thoughts. Also. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes.

') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. If they did.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. you might be afraid to take another risk. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. Remember. delay the deadline. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. that doesn't mean you should as well. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. After all. your energy will probably be low. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. and calmly leave the situation. negative emotions can spread. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. as you would treat anyone else. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. ups and downs. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. . Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. you always have the power to change your situation. Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. Remember. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. Keep the goal. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. but make a small change – for example. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. set the example. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable.

It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be. You may even do your job exceptionally well. and which types of feelings you face most often.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day. your value to the company is your efficiency. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle. Now. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. Organizations move forward by solving problems. Think about it. If I promote you. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . that you've been in the same position for three years while others .it means doing more of the RIGHT things. can lead to a new job with more responsibility.in your pursuit of a promotion.seemingly lessdeserving people . Why is it. remember . The longer you wait.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. before you head out to stop being effective at anything. But going beyond what's expected. When those emotions begin to appear. and that you're ready to take on new ones. If you're busy working away.and that may move you forward too. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . why should I promote you? Clearly. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. then. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do.

to learn and practice other skills. while also demonstrating individual competence. look for opportunities to lead projects. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible.34 You may even want to make lateral moves . and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. and stay current in your field. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. You'll expand your range of experience. Think about cost versus benefit. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. Get up-to-date.it's a win-win! . and make sure you acquire these. review bottom-line results. come prepared with solutions as well. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. Then. Expand your skill set. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. gain experience in other areas of the company. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. and make a plan to acquire those skills. managers are given responsibility for something. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. This involves working well as part of a team. When you have questions for your boss. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. Also. perhaps by reading the industry press. For example. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal.to similar positions in different departments . For example. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. and you'll make your boss's job easier . To gain access to them. If your exposure is broader. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation.

and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. Look for a mentor within the organization. find ways to work around them. Take note of who your internal competition might be . Find out what they did to get where they are. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. How can you do something cheaper.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. even if you aren't sure of the response. The more you learn from other people's experiences. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. faster. and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. Understand the big picture. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. is a great benefit. Set your goal. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate. If you rely on someone else to make it happen.it's often adding something of value as well. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. Put forward your ideas. always think about how to do things better. the better. and who might champion your ideas. Rather than accept things as they are. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation. Evaluate your strengths. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. think how you can improve them . See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . Look for things that aren't being done at all.others in your company who may want the same position you want . When you run into obstacles. . This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. Having someone to talk to. you'll probably end up disappointed.

That won't guarantee a promotion. Network with people in the company. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. By being proactive. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. take on more of the right responsibilities. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. though. To prepare for promotion. Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you. and then proactively work to achieve it. use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. Understand what drives your company's success. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. Using your knowledge of the organization. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. and communicate your promotion goals to others. are not guarantees of advancement. As you execute your promotion plan. If you aren't ready yet. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. you can create the path to the position that you want. expand your skill set. increase your value to the organization. Get the Recognition You Deserve .36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. Let people know what you want. Simply doing what's expected of you. and even being the best at what you do.

people often just want simple praise. Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. but also share credit where credit is due. you would. hard check doesn't always communicate that. Believe it or not. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. Then. because everyone wants something different. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards.and to top it all off. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. so decide what type you want. Be sure to make yourself look good. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. You'd think that by doing all of this. you wish. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. or a cold. if you're a bit nervous. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention. Why? Firstly. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. and never show up late . at least once in a while.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. However. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. Beside each one. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. never miss deadlines. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. it would seem odd. or bonuses. Unfortunately. So. and you don't point it out to him or her. certificates. That includes you. . There are many types of recognition. you might forget something important that you've done. and as a result. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team. there is a way to do this.

If you have something good to say. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. then people may notice. and you may look bad. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. If this feels a little too much like bragging. not-too-obvious way. Before you get upset. then say it. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. You can also praise others in front of your boss. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. however. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. Keep the focus off yourself. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working.in a private area.he or she may be praising you. If you appear insincere. If you tell your boss directly. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. In your work environment. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. send your boss an email every time you win a new account. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. Yes. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. As you talk. Keep it genuine and honest. then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. You know your boss and your business environment. • . For example. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. For example. then do it carefully and tactfully . If so. and you don't even realize it. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice.

sending emails about small accomplishments. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. they're likely to be older than 50.or even one job ." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition. This can show your boss that you're leading by example. your boss has to know what you've already done. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. When you recognize the efforts of your team.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility . Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks.and to do that. and send copies to your boss. send them emails praising their efforts. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . If you're a team leader. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. and they're not working for the government. If so. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. If you notice co-workers doing something great. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. and consider copying that email to his or her boss. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well.in their lives.

read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. Here. the world is much different. recession and even natural disaster. We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. your organizational skills (time management. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. downsizing. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. Next. and the chance to do something new. • • . outsourcing." What else can you do .the "fear" of losing your job . never making the break to search for something better. So." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. These days. be prepared. It's impossible to know what the future will bring. and use this site to build solid career skills. the technical skills you need can change quickly. and keeping stress away. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . It can be an adventure. So. and leadership). For more information. As a result of globalization. develop your nontechnical skills as well. because you'll know you've done all you can. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. team management. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. willingness to adapt to change. and your people skills. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. If you're a good worker with marketable skills. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. contracting. think "outside the box. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. but you can control how you look at it. another one opens.40 pension. In today's job market. however. Your home life.

It's your life. and it's within your power to change it. Start learning about other departments. allow everyone to voice their fears. Skills like effective time management. By talking about your accomplishments. Take outside classes and read trade publications. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. Also. Be PROactive instead of REactive. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. you keep him or her informed of your value. So. if you don't tell her. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization. make sure you give value to your company. you ALWAYS have control. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. have an open discussion. Look for lateral transfers within your company. Remember. but don't let these fears dominate the group. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. and you were forced to eliminate one position. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. leadership techniques. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important." then take control and act. to a different department or even a different branch. or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. or what you're capable of doing. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. This can create negativity and hurt morale. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. . Be willing to stay late to finish a project. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. Help another team member who's falling behind.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. so that you know what's going on in your field. and office organization can help you anywhere .no matter what job you're doing. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team).

Save at least three to six months of living expenses . If you wait until the last minute. remember that the world is full of opportunities. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. living with job insecurity is a reality for many. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. if you are laid off. not on doubt and uncertainty. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. exciting path. When your résumé is current. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). and put yourself onto a new. And save some money. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. your life is what you make of it! . This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive.the job.this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity. It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. Remember. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. If you do get laid off. Focus on the positive. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. Key Points In today's business world. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. if work dries up in your area. even if it's not the right match. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light.or losing .

it finally happened. Sure. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. Bargaining 4. 3. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. These are: 1. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. but then skip directly to acceptance. 2. or in the same time frame. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. You might skip a stage. Acceptance. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. simply because more stress is involved. After all. • Stage One: Denial . and think about what you can do to cope with each one. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Denial. Let's look at the stages in more detail. Depression 5. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. Anger.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. the more you know. Also. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. or whether you experience a certain stage at all.

your company. or even a counselor. Hurting the people you love will push them away. After all. . To cope. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. Talk with family and friends. then you're in Stage One. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. and make you feel worse. This can be one of the most difficult stages. In Kübler-Ross's original model. your boss. To cope with denial. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. if you've worked hard and "given your all".44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. or seek counseling. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. use anger management techniques. or the economy in general. you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. this is likely to be more practical. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss. especially for the people around you. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. and that you have to live with them. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger.

and it could give you a sense of control in your life. another one opens somewhere.45 For instance. as someone else also said. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. you might slip into a state of depression." But. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. Or. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. Remember. Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. if it was your fault. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. To cope with this stage. be aware of what you're doing. . You might offer to work part-time. or train any new hires that come through the door. "Whenever one door closes. your job right now is to find another job. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. Put your energy into moving forward. forgive yourself. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. and move on. Helping others can be very healing. or reduced benefits. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault. Bargaining is almost always futile. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. learn from the experience. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. You're grieving for your lost job. You can call it fate or destiny.

you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. Talk about your emotions. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. for them to reach . It was very hard. and you're stronger because of it. you might skip some stages. bargaining. or if it was your fault. do something productive. then seek help so you can move forward. you've learned from it.yet. incredible. anger. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. You're a talented. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential. Again. or go through all five: everyone is different." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. depression and acceptance. if not impossible. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. despite your best effort. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. Traditionally. Give yourself time to work through each stage. and keep moving forward. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals.

if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Today. risk takers. the glass ceiling is still very real. want to break through that glass. . You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. However.47 upper management positions." However. If you do. And it's not always limited to gender or race. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers. here are some steps to take. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. indeed. No matter how qualified or experienced. you have a choice. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role.

If you achieve that goal. then monitor and measure your performance. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. For example. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. Be proactive and go after what you want. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. no matter what job title you have.48 To further clarify these ideas. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. because it probably won't be handed to you. and learn to use as many of these tools as possible. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. and attributes. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. Communication skills will help you. Start with the introduction to communication skills. set goals to get there. skills. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. Each of these is complex.

Past practices.49 provide you with valuable information. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. Get involved with cross-functional teams. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations. biases and stereotypes. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. However. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Read more about Professional Networking. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. to be effective and actually make it to the top.

Don't just accept frustration and failure. technical knowledge. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Visibility is very important. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. Know that you're doing everything right. watch for discriminatory behavior. To do this. Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. and develop plans to change them. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. you need to champion and market yourself. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. communication skills. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. those at the top can see down. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. while you can see up.50 and ideas on how to find one. leadership abilities. Remember. That means proactively managing every . and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. Speak up and contribute in meetings. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. You want people to see your competence.

and monitor your progress. Ask for support and assistance . Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. but most people don't succeed all on their own. a strong network. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. So. like it or not. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. a mentor.51 step of your career. You probably didn't plan for it. and you may find new zones of opportunity. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. you might have to work harder than others. Apply some of the ideas in this article. Yet. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss.this is a sign of strength. not weakness. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. and potentially change the direction of your . they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there. hopefully. or anyone in your organization. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. your old boss is leaving. and. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success.

But you also need to know how and when to act. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. However. as well as which problems to avoid. and you have to be supportive. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. In many ways. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. but doesn't. so the boss may look to you for help. you are also new to your new boss. However. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. in this case. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. and prove yourself. There's a proper balance that you can find. Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. and even a different management style. In this article. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. a new boss will likely have different opinions. Things will likely be different. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. This person needs your help. you're not facing reality. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. but doesn't know . So. is nothing. 2. so expect to change the way you work. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do. different policies.

and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. considerately. If you do either of these. and you have to work with this new person. and sufficiently. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. However. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. you must face the reality that your company made a choice. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it. 3. but don't appear too eager. . Your goal is to educate tactfully. (If you were competing for the job. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss.53 it. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. Tip: Be helpful." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. because she did your job before you got there. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). Even if your new boss knows what you do.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. But your new boss may have a more general management background. yourself). Your new boss knows what you do. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. Offer your help. perhaps. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. On the other hand.

. individual preferences. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. but at least you'll know. Use common sense. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. and mutual availability as your guiding factors. Now What? covers this in detail. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • ..and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. but we've summarized some of the information here. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . but also figuring out who the key players are. because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. For example.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months.

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